Friday, January 05, 2007

Bridget Jones Goes Bad

Z and I just got back from seeing Notes on a Scandal. We knew nothing of it and picked it only because of torrential rains and winds, and because Judi Dench is a favorite of Z’s. It was good. Tight writing. Strong characters. Stellar acting. Interesting throughout. Somewhere around the midpoint, however, I started to get a bit uncomfortable because I realized that despite the beautiful Cait Blanchett’s character’s ill-advised affair with her fifteen year old student, the aged spinster would be the “baddie.” Not the woman with loving husband and fairly decent home-life who decides to stray with her art student for no real reason other than minor dissatisfaction. No, Cait remains sympathetic throughout. It is the spinters we must beware. Judi Dench’s character keeps a meticulous journal (complete with gold stars and other bits of ephemera—the sort of journal that normally makes me feel warm inside), while judging others harshly, and having only one meaningful relationship: with her ailing cat, Portia. This let’s us know right away that this is a person to be judged and found lacking. Pitied, possibly, but mostly reviled.

Probably because Z was sitting next to me, with promises to take me home and love me, it took longer than normal for my spinster sensitivities to ratchet up to 10. I’ve never been able to truly enjoy Fatal Attraction and it hurt a bit to see what the world thinks Bridget Jones’s future might hold if Mark Darcy gives her the brush-off. On the other hand, as a writer, I know that sometimes there are bad __________ (fill in stereotype here) and they must be written about. The key is writing about them in such a way that you believe the character and forget the stereotype. This writing was good, but ultimately, it still seemed like a cautionary tale for any 40 year old woman who thinks maybe it will be okay to live out the remainder of her days in a single kind of way.

I don’t like cautionary tales. But still, see the movie.

Tonight is my last night of being 39. Z is off at Bartell’s buying me last minute birthday trimmings and so I am in the flat, reflecting. Am I sorry my 30s are over? Nah. I’m sorry I didn’t live my 20s better, but my 30s have been good. I’ve been some places, met some people, written some things. I have found the love of a good dog and the affection of a good man (whose keys are jangling in the lock as I write this). I’m healthier than I was three days ago, and that’s something to be happy about too. Two days of Jell-O and broth eating was not what I envisioned for this trip to Seattle. Today's lunch at the Pink Door in Post Alley was delicious--my first real meal--though I was sorry that the tarot readers and trapeze artists weren't there. Apparently that sort of dining entertainment is only appropriate in the evening.

So, goodbye 30s. Hello 40s. Let’s see what’s on your horizon.

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